David’s images of the Birds of the Spanish Plains

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Earlier this year, David was part of a small group who headed to capture images of the birds of the Spanish plains with Pui Hang & myself, we spent a weekend photograph the various species that are to be found in the area.

Ordinarily, we had expected some of the species to have diminished numbers as they would have started to migrate following their successful breeding earlier in the season, however the season had been wet, many of the earlier clutches had sadly failed & so large numbers of birds remained & were trying for a second clutch – this certainly applied to the hoopoes, the bee-eaters & more.

The female adult hoopoe feeding one of the young from this years clutch - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

The hoopoe were especially active in the morning with the male bringing back grubs for the female to feed to their chicks.

A black kite circles the carrion site seeking out meat amongst the cacaphony of birds beneath - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

At the carrion hide, the black kites glided lazily across the spanish plains allowing for some stunning birds in flight images.

A black kite soars above the feeding frenzy of the carrion hide site - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday A hoopoe comes in to land, showing off the crest which is the trademark feature of these birds - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

David managed to capture some great take-off & landing shots of the hoopoe.

A hoopoe delicately comes in to land, showing off it's amazing wing feathers - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

The colourful bee-eaters were also very popular & extremely obliging by posing on perches just long enough to allow for some shots.

A portrait of a bee-eater photographed amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Whilst the black kites look great in the skies, I thought they were absolutely magnificent perched against a backdrop of wildflowers.

A perched black kite amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Black vultures with their wings open, squabbling over a perch.

A pair of vultures scuffle above the feeding frenzy below - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

There was also plenty of action going on with the bee-eaters.  These stunning little birds build their nests on the ground so the wet weather had been catastrophic for them. Now with summer in full swing, they were making up for lost time & trying for a second clutch.

A pair of bee-eaters mating on the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday A pair of bee-eaters mating amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Our Birds of the Spanish Plains holiday is a great trip if you like bird photography due to the sheer number of different species available. Our location offers opportunities for great portraits such as this vulture perched on a tree stump just below a fellow scavenger.

A posing vulture contemplates entering the fray for food in the centre of the carrion hide site - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

A raven in wildflowers.

A raven perches amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

This southern grey shrike was captured beautifully just as it brought up a pellet.

A shrike brings up a pellet - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

A stork coming in to land….

A stork banks as it prepares to land at the carrion hide site - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

… to join it’s partner looking for food on the plains rather than by the lake.

A trio of storks wander the carrion site plucking meat from the ground - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

As the female hoopoe remained near the nest, the male flew off to look for more grub.

An adult hoopoe takes off and flies past one of the young from this years clutch - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

The female didn’t have to wait long for the male to come back. With both their crowns open, the male passed his bounty to his partner so she could go & feed the chicks.

An adult hoopoe gently feeding a caught insect to one of the young from this years clutch - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

The carrion hide was extremely active with raptors, corvids & scavengers. The raven watching the departing vulture seemed perfectly at ease amongst the other vultures.

A vulture launches into flight - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Wings outstretched, a black vulture comes in to land.

A vulture comes in to land - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

A group of  black vultures (known as a committee) resting in a tree.

A venue of vultures perched amongst the tress surrounding the carrion site on the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Bee-eaters passing food between each other whilst sat on a perch.

Bee-eaters passing a caught insect captured amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Vulture talons – traditionally talons are used to catch & hold prey & even occasionally kill prey. However, the talons of a vulture are different. Since they are scavengers they do not catch or kill their prey so their talons are only slightly curved with bare toes & tarsi to make it easier for them to clean after feeding in carcasses.

Detail of a vultures foot - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Vulture standing head & shoulders above the rest of the group.

Eyes locked on to the hide, one of the vultures stares intently - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Ravens looking to land in a sea of vultures.

Mob-handed, the vultures move in to the carrion hide site, chasing away the crows & kites - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

A bee-eater making a juicy moth offering to its mate.

One bee-eater passes a caught insect to another amongst the grass & wild flowers of the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

Vultures may not be the prettiest of birds but they are still a great subject to photograph whether you are looking for a portrait shot or a dramatic action image as evidenced by David here.

Sparring vultures keep their food solely to themselves - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday Portrait of a vulture - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday Pereched above the carrion feeding area, one vulture observes the feeding frenzy - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday One of the vultures who gather to feed at the carrion site located in the Spanish plains - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BIRDS OF THE SPANISH PLAINS?

If you would like to join the group to photograph the amazing birds of the Spanish plains, which will again be led by Dan Trim in 2017, then you can book the 2017 Birds of Calera Photography Holiday – we’ve only got 1 place remaining available.

We include all transport from Madrid Airport to the area in which the hides are located, transport to the hides themselves, accommodation on a full board basis, usage of the hides for 7 days & plenty of laughter. You should be presented with opportunities for photographing Bee-EaterBlack VultureBlack-Winged KiteCommon KestrelGreat BustardGriffon VultureHoopoeImperial EagleLesser KestrelLittle BustardLittle Owl & more besides!